How do I explain the whacky satire of a game that we call Saints Row IV. The game filled with some of the most humurous and fun characters in a sandbox game? Maybe the game filled with so much to do with the intention of letting the player just have fun and laugh at the game’s parodies? Or maybe the game that reminds us that games don’t always have to tell a captivating story because all we need is this city and the green light to go out there and just. Have. Fun. Lets just go with all of the above because that is exactly what Saints Row IV is all about.
Saints Row IV picks up years after the events of Saints Row The Third, and since then the Saints aren’t just another gang who run a city, they run the United States of America. The boss, you, are put in a powerful position as the President until the White House is invaded by an alien race called the Zin that are lead by the alien warlord Zinyak. The Zin have chosen to abduct the best of the human race including the boss and sending him to a virtual reality 50’s sitcom until finding a way out of that situation and into another. Now being thrown into a simulated Steelport, you find out that the rest of the Saints have also been abducted and the only way to save them is to enter their virtual nightmares with the help of the genius Kinzie and use the advantages of this virtual world to defeat Zinyak and save the human race. Not the kind of story you expected, huh? Who am I kidding? This is Saints Row IV! What else should have we expected?
I hope you enjoyed the craziness that was Saints Row The Third because when you multiply that by a hundred you have Saints Row IV taking the franchise to a whole new level. Saints Row IV expands on the humor and fun factor that it’s predecessor introduced to the genre. At first glance many would probably think that this is Saints Row The Third with a couple of new features that could have been DLC, but rest assured, playing this game proved to me that this game is an actual sequel and not just a re-skin even though it doesn’t look the best graphically compared to the last game. Saints Row IV introduces super powers showing us a new side of the Saints Row franchise we never knew could possibly exist. Early in the game players are introduced to these powers like super speed and jump, and the ability to blast natural elements like ice. Clusters are scattered on the Steelport rooftops that are used to upgrade your character’s powers and the money you earn can be used to upgrade your characters abilities. I’m not going to lie, Crackdown comparisons are inevitable, but I wouldn’t call that a bad thing since I personally enjoyed Crackdown. A handful of the main story missions will put your character in situations that take away your powers but I was okay with this since it gave me the time to really experiment with the insane arsenal Saints Row IV has to offer. Seriously, a dub-step gun? Who in the world other than Volition would have thought of a gun that drops a dub-step beat that stops what everyone is doing and forces them and their vehicles to dance to the beat. These weapons can also be customized with different styles and skins to match your rampage mood.
With the power to leap over buildings and run faster than cars I started to wonder what was the point of vehicles anymore. Yeah, they’re still there just incase you forget while mowing down vehicles as your blue streak is left in the path of your super speed running. I can literally count how many times I’ve driven a vehicle during my playtime because I never found a reason outside of the times I was required to drive a vehicle. Vehicle customization is still in but I’m not going to sugar coat it, I only used it once for my review, but if you’re into customizing your cars, you’ll have some options for your own personal styles. Just don’t expect a ton of options. The lack of customization also brings up the lack of character customizations. Saints Row 1 and 2 featured some of the best character options, but this was trimmed down in Saints Row The Third, and Saints Row IV followed suit. We have the goofy outfits and awesome super hero suits but I was still left wanting to do more with my character.
Aside the main story missions, you can complete the famous Saints Row side mission activites that can unlock new weapons, upgrades and even a super powered gang member upon completion. Theres nothing like flying through the air after getting hit by on coming traffic or trying to assassinate a toilet and a question mark. Each side mission has a bronze, silver, and gold ranking depending on your score during these missions but they’re not difficult at all if only completing them is your goal.
Saints Row IV proves that you can still have a fun and comedic game without it coming off as corny or adolescent. It was such a pleasure to play and I can definitely see myself constantly coming back to play this whenever I need a game to just relax and powerhouse a walking can of soda.